Sunday, 18 August 2013

Continuous Worker Placement

First up a few more concept sketches of monsters and maidens for the Loch Maiden game direct from my Galaxy Note 8.

Now, lets see if I can explain quickly the concept of Continuous Worker Placement. Maybe a quick summary of Worker Placement as it currently works in many superb board games like Stone Age, Dominant Species, Pillars of the Earth and Agricola. The game progresses in rounds where players take turns placing 'workers' onto locations on a board to claim for themselves resources, points or other game elements and thus deprive the other players of those very same things. This creates a nice tension where as a player you can see many options that you want to take but can only take one and thus the others might deprive you of things in their turn.

This is a mechanic that I really like as it offers choices for players as well as a tricky set of player interactions. So the goal I set out with was to alter this mechanic in such a way that it didn't progress in the purely turn based way but flowed piece by piece.

Lets assume there are 6 locations with players having their monster humps spread around much like other WP games. Then we need to choose a location that resolves next by rolling a die. Thus players wont know in advance which of the locations will resolve next but they have chosen where to place their precious humps. They may have placed their 'workers' spread out or concentrated their efforts on the locations they really need.

Once we know which location is rolled then it starts resolving, the details of which depend on the card sitting in that location. A resource collection card will see humps competing for the resources there like food or scars. If there is a charm card then resources and humps are used to gain hearts and so forth.

As the location resolves the humps return to neutral 'deep water'. After resolution a new card is drawn to this location and unless it is a card that resolves immediately (events) then this becomes the new spot that all players can send their 'workers' to. Players (in 'mood' order) can then place their deep_water humps on any location including the new card just drawn or keep some in reserve for later.

In this way the locations resolve one by one and not in larger rounds creating a slightly different pacing and tactical tension. Next step is to detail this logic up so it can be tested as I don't know of any precedents for this - it should be lots of fun!

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